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Birmingham City University - Sign In. Pollution of air in the UK means 16,000 people die each year because of dirty air | WIRED UK. More than 90 per cent of the UK’s population breathe highly polluted air on a daily basis, the World Health Organisation has revealed. Using data from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground-level monitors, the organisation and the University of Bath developed a model that showed air pollution levels for more than 3,000 locations in 103 countries around the world. The results show that nine out of ten people (92 per cent) on Earth live in places where air pollution is higher than acceptable limits – even when they are outside. You can explore the interactive map here The health risks of breathing in polluted air include respiratory and cardiovascular disease, strokes, lung cancer and other astute breathing problems.

This, the study says, resulted in 16,335 deaths in the UK in 2012. A breakdown of the deaths says 7,300 were from ischaemic heart disease, 5,000 from lung disease and 3,700 from strokes. World Health Organisation "Computation is fairly extensive. Global warming making oceans 'sick', scientists warn. France bans the use of plastic crockery and cutlery to aid battle against climate change. Londoners in 2050 won't need cars. They'll be living in an app-powered eco-capital. England's plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced | Environment.

The number of single-use plastic bags used by shoppers in England has plummeted by more than 85% after the introduction of a 5p charge last October, early figures suggest. More than 7bn bags were handed out by seven main supermarkets in the year before the charge, but this figure plummeted to slightly more than 500m in the first six months after the charge was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said. The data is the government’s first official assessment of the impact of the charge, which was introduced to help reduce litter and protect wildlife - and the expected full-year drop of 6bn bags was hailed by ministers as a sign that it is working.

The charge has also triggered donations of more than £29m from retailers towards good causes including charities and community groups, according to Defra. England was the last part of the UK to adopt the 5p levy, after successful schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Waste of resources is biggest threat to planet, warns Scottish environment agency | Environment. Scotland’s environment agency has warned the country’s industries and farmers that their waste and inefficiency is now the biggest threat to the environment, overtaking pollution.

In a marked shift in strategy, the regulator’s chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, will urge businesses, farmers and manufacturers to adopt a “one planet prosperity” policy designed to cut their energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and resource use. “The major threat to the environment now is that humanity is overusing the planet as a resource base,” he told the Guardian. A’Hearn argues that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has largely won the battle against so-called gross pollution from onshore sources. Air, water and soil pollution is now far below the levels seen decades ago. Those were 20th-century problems, he said. But developed economies such as the UK’s are now consuming resources at a rate close to three times the planet’s actual capacity. A force of nature our influential Anthropocene period | Simon Lewis | Opinion. We live in epoch-making times. I mean this literally, rather than as a tool to dramatise the global economic crisis or latest political scandal.

An epoch describes a geological time period. The end of the last glaciation, some 11,000 years ago, saw the transition from the cool Pleistocene to the warmer Holocene. This relatively stable epoch saw humans turn to agriculture and our population rise considerably. Now geologists, ecologists and climate scientists, myself included, are reporting we have entered a new and much less stable geological epoch: the Anthropocene.

Just as changes to the Earth's orbit, volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts in the distant past have set the world on radically new courses, humanity itself has now become a collective force of nature, with far-reaching consequences. People have always had an impact on the environment. The impacts of human activity on the other great global chemical cycles are similarly profound. Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say | Environment. There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.

The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year. The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.

“We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch,” said Dr Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday. “We [the public] are well aware of the climate discussions that are going on. Plastic now pollutes every corner of Earth | Environment.

Humans have made enough plastic since the second world war to coat the Earth entirely in clingfilm, an international study has revealed. This ability to plaster the planet in plastic is alarming, say scientists – for it confirms that human activities are now having a pernicious impact on our world. The research, published in the journal Anthropocene, shows that no part of the planet is free of the scourge of plastic waste. Everywhere is polluted with the remains of water containers, supermarket bags, polystyrene lumps, compact discs, cigarette filter tips, nylons and other plastics. Some are in the form of microscopic grains, others in lumps. The impact is often highly damaging. “The results came as a real surprise,” said the study’s lead author, Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, of Leicester University. The crucial point about the study’s findings is that the appearance of plastic should now be considered as a marker for a new epoch. “In 1950, we virtually made none at all.

Shell #makethefuture. The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age | Science. Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in Cape Town on Monday. The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken were now under consideration. The current epoch, the Holocene, is the 12,000 years of stable climate since the last ice age during which all human civilisation developed. “If our recommendation is accepted, the Anthropocene will have started just a little before I was born,” he said.

But Lord Rees added that there is also cause for optimism. Human activity has: Buying begets buying: how stuff has consumed the average American's life | Life and style. The personal storage industry rakes in $22bn each year, and it’s only getting bigger. Why? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not because vast nations of hoarders have finally decided to get their acts together and clean out the hall closet. It’s also not because we’re short on space. In 1950 the average size of a home in the US was 983 square feet. Compare that to 2011, when American houses ballooned to an average size of 2,480 square feet – almost triple the size. And finally, it’s not because of our growing families. So, if our houses have tripled in size while the number of people living in them has shrunk, what, exactly, are we doing with all of this extra space? Well, friends, it’s because of our stuff. The simple truth is this: you can read all the books and buy all the cute cubbies and baskets and chalkboard labels, even master the life-changing magic of cleaning up – but if you have more stuff than you do space to easily store it, your life will be spent a slave to your possessions.

It’s not overpopulation that causes climate change, it’s overconsumption | Fred Pearce | Opinion. Fears about overpopulation, once the apocalyptic vision du jour, have disappeared from the headlines in recent years. The consensus had been that we can look forward to peak population by late this century – maybe at 9 or 10 billion, compared to the current 7 billion. The only question seemed to be precisely when and at what level. But a new forecast this week in the journal Science suggests this is complacent. It states that population is unlikely to peak at any time soon, and that the century will close with a tally of 11 billion and rising. Is this right? The debate about peak population is focused specifically on what we think will happen in sub-Saharan Africa, where in some countries people still have five or more children.

Population numbers in the rest of the world have been declining for years: the average woman in the world today has half as many children as her grandmother: 2.5 bouncing babies, compared to more than five back in the 1970s. Severe drought in India pushed thousands of farmers to suicide. A severe drought in India has caused a spike in farmer suicides. These suicides increased 40 percent between 2014 and 2015, according to government statistics.

In those two years monsoon rains were weak, reservoirs dried up, and crops died in the inland west of the country. What’s causing this? A columnist for CNN’s website, John Sutter, lays the blame at the foot of climate change. “By burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests, we humans are destabilizing the climate. Several Indian sources also blame the adoption of cash crops, like sugarcane, which depend on lots of water and can fail catastrophically during droughts. Raising cash crops has often helped lift small farmers out of poverty. Burning trees for electricity is a bad idea. Climate change is such a vast and systemic problem that almost every large industry has tried to figure out how to make some money off it in the last couple of decades. That’s OK — money is one motivator, and someone has to build all those solar panels.

But that greed also leads to some very bad ideas. They can seem — at least to some people — like good ideas at first. And hey, when you’re in a crisis, it’s worth trying out all sorts of things. Turning corn into ethanol, for instance. Or substituting natural gas for coal — which seemed to make sense, because when you burn gas in a power plant, it gives off half as much carbon dioxide as coal. The latest of these sad sagas involves burning trees for electricity. The theory is, if you cut down a tree and burn it, another will grow in its place, and it will soak up the carbon you just burned.

The trouble with the theory is, it turns out to be wrong, at least relative to the crisis we face. Which we simply can’t afford. The best way to fight climate change? Don’t call it climate change. American cities from Boston to Baton Rouge are getting hammered by hurricanes, torrential downpours, and blizzards amped up by climate change. Maybe that’s why Americans are coming around to the idea that the climate is actually changing. But are all the floods, heat waves, and other disasters spurring cities to prepare for our overheated future? Sabrina McCormick, a sociologist at George Washington University who once investigated how cities cope with disasters for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, set out earlier this year to find out.

Her study, recently published in the journal Climatic Change, breaks down 65 in-depth interviews with city officials and experts in six cities — Portland, Boston, Los Angeles, Raleigh, Tucson, and Tampa. In a recent interview, McCormick said she learned that many city officials believe the key to getting everybody on board to battle climate change is to avoid uttering the words “climate change.” A.It’s hard to say. Green Is In - The Cool Hunter. The Real Junk Food Project: revolutionising how we tackle food waste | Life and style.

Adam Smith is blunt and to the point when I call him to suggest an interview. I want to talk to him about the Real Junk Food Project, which he founded, and suggest doing it at the cafe he set up in Leeds which uses waste food and operates on a pay-as-you-feel basis. “Which cafe? There are 30 of them. And that’s just in Leeds.” Bluntness may well be Smith’s defining characteristic. A chef by training, who had, by his own admission, a troubled childhood, he set up the project only three years ago, and it’s been a roller-coaster ride since then. And, no, he doesn’t have time to do an interview. “It’s the bane of our lives, bread,” says Keith Annal, the operations manager. There are rolls and baguettes and bagels and croissants. And it’s all perfectly good food, which if they hadn’t rescued it would now be rotting at the bottom of the bin.

It’s certainly eye-opening seeing how much is coming out of a handful of supermarkets in one mid-sized British city. Though there is poverty too.